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Motivation Such and Aggravation

This will be my first post in that blog for my class as soon as I can come up with a name for it I like.

You know that technology is having a huge impact on school when one can turn a simple journal assignment into a blog only to motivate themselves to complete it more thoroughly and in a timely fashion.

Such is this blog. For what looks to be quite an exciting course, I must keep a journal of thoughts related to writing and the teaching of writing. With the help of Google Analytics, I will be able to motivate myself to keep writing so as to keep some sort of audience interested. On that note, I have my first self-created prompt for this journal…

How on earth am I actually going to ever get a student motivated to write before the eve of the assigned due date?

Having been one of those students, I know exactly the thought process of the ones who are more than capable of doing any mundane task assigned, but not coming anywhere near caring enough to do them. In the first meeting of my American Gothic course today I was reminded of Professor Sweet’s practice of short quizzes on the assigned reading material and it got me thinking about applying something like this to writing.

Because I had her for American Lit a year ago, I know that Prof. Sweet’s quizzes are very simple ones, only really intended to motivate and reward keeping up with the reading assignments. As much as I hated them at the beginning of the last course, I came to love the easy credit for just doing what I should have found my own motivation to do.

I’d already attended Writing and the Young Writer when thinking about these American Gothic quizzes, and thought that if there was a way to modify this practice for writing, one might just be able to show high school and middle school students the benefit of staying ahead of their writing from the beginning. But just how would I ever be able to do that? I guess I have a few years until I’m in a classroom, and I have lots of teachers to learn from until then, so maybe I shouldn’t worry about it for the moment. If I can figure out a reasonable way though, I can’t wait to try and actually get students motivated.

I love how much better my writing is now that I start my writing earlier and have a chance to edit it. I wasn’t ready to admit that I needed that in high school though, and I’m sure I’ll run into plenty of students who feel the same way. I also feel as though I was able to scrape by and get B’s on papers that I pulled out of my ass the night before, so what real incentive did I have to start earlier?

Thinking about it in those terms has me remembering just last spring and my Advanced Composition course with Professor Dunstan. That’s actually where I finally found the drive to truly edit and give myself time to write. Dunstan was able to get me to see the light by having us turn in papers that were due at the end of the class around mid-terms, and giving us what our grades would be if we turned in that paper. Even the one that I had a solid B in then wasn’t enough for me when I still had the time to improve it. The notes that he’d made, made it very easy for me to spot what I didn’t like in my own writing and edit it to be more clear and definite.

I think before I write again I’ll pull out my old syllabus from that course and see if I can’t draw more inspiration from that, or in my current course with Dunstan!

Something to talk about!

Today was the first day of school, and man is this semester going to be insane! I’m currently signed up for 6 courses, though that does include a swimming course with minimal outside work. If I end up getting into the Sign Language class I want on Wednesday I might just drop the swimming course though, to make sure I have time to get everything done.

I think the thing I’m most excited about this semester is the journal I have to keep for Writing and the Young Writer. Since Professor Fanetti is totally down with electronic submission, I think I’m actually going to ask her if I can complete it in the form of a blog!

Now I know, I already have three blogs, one of which Mallory and I simply don’t update, and one that I’ve let fall pretty far behind, but this is a little different. As soon as I figure out a decent name for it, I will have a link here, though I don’t know if I will be making it entirely public yet. I don’t know how she feels about comments, though I believe that she will actually like the idea of the open communication. The assignment is basically two journals each week on our thoughts about writing and teaching writing. With a prompt like that, I feel like I’m actually going to be able to start writing some blogs that I can be really proud of.

I started writing some ideas for my first one during my classes today, and I can’t wait to get a chance to put it together tomorrow!

After a great idea like that, I ended up sitting in on a class that the awesome Liz is taking during what would have been a break for me. I ended up falling in love with the professor though, and now I’m hoping to add the class myself. That puts me at a grand total of 7 if I keep that swimming class and get the Sign class.

Yes, I know that I’m insane.

Grr to School

So this whole summer school thing is great right? I’ll get my foreign language out of the way and be able to graduate on time, possibly with a minor in education, possibly with a jump start on the credential program.

That is of course until I have to actually PAY for my summer classes. I knew there was a down side to this situation that I was forgetting!

I’m going to have to start watching my money and really only spending it on dancing, food and gas. And by food I of course mean stuff from the grocery store, not so much going out.

Between dancing, school and work, I wonder what else I’ll have time to do this summer.

Actually, it sounds kind of nice.

Summer Reading

Today on Facebook I asked for some help in compiling a Summer Reading list. I was very happy with the quick replies, but of course as soon as I posted the request, I realized that I have access to a list of possible books I will have to read this fall. Since I’m taking so many courses, I might as well get a head start on my reading and only have to skim them later, right?

So now I’d like to read about half of the books that I know I’ll have assigned this Fall if I can make it happen. Here’s what I’ve found…

For my American Gothic class:
Joyce Carol Oates: American Gothic Tales;
Charles Brockden Brown: Edgar Huntly;
Edgar Allan Poe: Tales;
Henry James: The Turn of the Screw;
Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Yellow Wallpaper
Shirley Jackson: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

For my American Lit II class:
The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, Richard Ellman ed.
Kate Chopin The Awakening,
Joseph Heller Catch 22,
Percival Everett Erasure,
Alice Notley The Descent of Alette.

I can’t honestly say that I’m excited about the Anthology of Poetry, but at least it’s modern stuff, which I tend to despise less than other stuff I’ve had to read.

I have two more classes that I’ll have reading to do in, so I should probably really get going on some of these books. Luckily a couple of them are ones that I’ve actually wanted to read before, so maybe it won’t be so terrible!

Thanks to all who gave recommendations, I definitely wrote them down and will be checking them out if I manage to finish all of those by the end of the summer. Any encouraging remarks about what I have to read would be greatly appreciated!

Summer Courses

I just signed up for my summer courses. If I can get into the class that I’m on the waitlist for I’ll be taking 11 units.

Let’s hope that I can, because I don’t want to have to take more English electives at Sac State if I can take them at a community college.

I looked up my grade in my Grammar class today, and it seems that I didn’t understand the big assignment as well as I thought, because I got a 15/20 on it, and since it was late I really only got 13. Because of this, the best that I can hope for in this class is a B.

I’m not looking forward to the final in half an hour.

I am looking forward to watching I’m Not There tonight though!

Lots of things!

I might just be crazy!

Click for a larger image of course, and see just how crazy I am!

Those are the classes that I am currently enrolled in for the fall semester. There are LOTS more that I would love to take, but I do have to have time for homework for these classes, and you know, actual WORK. With some luck though, I’ll be able to figure out a pretty regular work schedule on campus so that I don’t have to worry about a changing schedule. I just remembered that I should have more freedom from money next semester, so I won’t even need too many hours working, which is pretty awesome!

It’s been hot in Sacramento lately. Not exactly hot enough that it justifies leaving a fan on all day when only the cats are home, yet my roommate does it. The bathroom stays pretty cool, and they hang out in there anyway, why leave the fan on in your room if there is no one to benefit from it? If I didn’t already move so much I’d be really tempted to find my own place and just make sure I work more next semester.

I’ve really enjoyed dancing the past several weeks, and can’t wait to learn more. If anyone reading this knows more than me (and I know there are at least two of you) please share with me what you know! Watching some videos of friends completely intimidates me, but also excites me and motivates me to see how far I can go!

I had a pretty productive day today.

After completing an “exercise in time management” provided by my English teacher (it’s funny, time management isn’t in the course description or the syllabus) I went to the grocery store and got some gas. I don’t actually remember the last time that I got gas, but I’l try to pay attention to the next time that I do. I love living so close to everything that I do!

While I was at the grocery store I bought the items pictured below.

To avoid eating most of the box in just a few sittings, I bought the snack bags and divided it up!

I checked the box, and a serving is supposed to be only 55 little fishies, which those bags are definitely not. There are supposedly 32-ish servings in a box, I divided it into 18 bags. (Please note the earrings on the table, it was totally intense work while watching the season finale of 24.)

I have some pictures of a car that I see a lot that amuse me, but I think I’ve made this entry long enough, and I might forget all the things I think of tomorrow to write about, so I will save it until then!

And I’ve finished!

All of my papers and anything else that I have to turn in to any class has officially been turned in. I have four finals next week, and some of them I’m not currently so prepared for, but it’s only one a day, which I can totally handle. Especially since the first one is definitely the easiest, so I have more time to focus on the others!

Now that I’ll have a little more time in my schedule, I’m really looking forward to taking care of some things that have been a little neglected over the past few weeks. During study breaks and then definitely after I’m finished around noon on Thursday I look forward to getting at least a few, but hopefully all of the following things done:

Cleaning my room.
Organizing my room as I clean.
Officially signing up for summer classes.
Figuring out applying to the Jamba Juice on campus.
Dancing a LOT more.
Trying some new recipes in exchange for some awesome dancing lessons.
Sleeping in without feeling guilty.
Testing out my mom’s pool to make sure it’s good for the year.
Reading for pleasure!
Writing for pleasure on a more in depth level than this blog usually gets.
Working and making some cash!
Riding my bike.
Lots more that I can’t even think of right now.

Look forward to much more interesting updates!

Nearing the End

This week has felt pretty crazy. Last weekend and the beginning of this week I seemed to have a kind of block on writing the about 30 pages that were due over 8 papers this week. I think a big part of that came from being forced to work on one piece all day Monday when I prefer to be able to work in short bursts.

Today I’m down to 5 papers that I have to turn in tomorrow. One of which is so done that it’s got a fork sticking out of it, but another I have yet to begin. The other three I’ve made decent progress on and now I just need to get my brother over here for some truly brotherly (read brutal) editing and I’ll be just about good to go.

I’ve got so much I could say about my process and how I intend to use the rest of my day, but this is just intended to be a short break so I can trick myself into working on one paper for two of those short bursts back to back!

I will have much more to say tomorrow afternoon and this weekend once my paper writing week is over!

School and such

I think I need to stop promising that I’m going to post on my breaks at school. I never end up doing it. There’s always something like picking out classes to be done then.

I don’t actually get to sign up for classes until the 5th of December, but I’d like to have a few potential schedules ready for things like possibly getting a part time job, or some classes being full. I’d also really like to take another class or two with some of the girls that I have in my classes this semester, so I’ll have to see how that works out.

I thought that I was going to drop my incredibly boring, impossible to figure out Philosophy of Science course (I know, the name makes it sound either full of potential or totally unbelievably horrible, it’s the latter) until a friend in the class looked through the grading scale and helped me to realized that I can put almost no work into the rest of the course and still pass with a C-. So instead I’ll put a little bit of work into it and hopefully pass with a B+!

I went to two civil rights events this week and may be going to two more by the end of the weekend. I don’t want this blog to become all about those, and I’m often too tired to process what’s gone on when I get home, so maybe you’ll get an update, and maybe you won’t.